Alcohol, smoking and obesity fuel WHO's global drive to tackle cancer
The World Health Organisation has urged for a global drive to tackle the causes of cancer linked to lifestyle, such as alcohol abuse, sugar consumption and obesity.
It predicted that the number of new cases could soar 70 percent to nearly 25 million a year over the next 20 years, the Guardian reported.
Half of these cases are preventable, says the UN's public health arm in its World Cancer Report, because they are linked to lifestyle.
It is implausible to think we can treat our way out of the disease, the authors said, arguing that the focus must now be on preventing new cases.
Even the richest countries will struggle to cope with the spiralling costs of treatment and care for patients, and the lower income countries, where numbers are expected to be highest, are ill-equipped for the burden to come.
The incidence of cancer globally has increased from 12.7 million new cases in 2008 to 14.1 million in 2012, when there were 8.2m deaths. By 2032, it is expected to hit almost 25 million a year a€" a 70 percent increase.
The biggest burden will be in low- and middle-income countries, where the population is increasing and living longer. They are hit by two types of cancers a€" first, those triggered by infections, such as cervical cancers, which are still very prevalent in poorer countries that do not have screening, let alone the HPV vaccine.
Second, there are increasingly cancers associated with the lifestyles of more affluent countries "with increasing use of tobacco, consumption of alcohol and highly processed foods and lack of physical activity", Margaret Chan, WHO director general, wrote in an introduction to the report.
(Posted on 04-02-2014)